Q: Any tips for how to remain calm when a person in being passive aggressive towards you or they are snapping at you? ...I've gotten very good at calming down quickly afterwards but would like to not get worked up at all in this situation and be able to remain calm.
A: The more regulated our nervous system is, the more bandwidth we have for negative encounters. Mindfulness practices or meditation, vagus nerve exercises, Reiki, repeated and sustained elevated emotional states all help create more regulation. If this is someone who is in your life on an ongoing basis, I advise daily mindfulness practices of getting really into the present moment and connecting with your surroundings or your breath. The more you practice this, and cultivate your curious observer, the easier it will be to separate yourself from the other person and their behaviours.
Additionally, it can sometimes be helpful to recognize that all people are this planet are on a journey. We all have growing and learning to do (and some are more open to it than others). We are all human and there is no such thing as perfect. Taking a moment or two to reflect on how that type of behaviour arose for that person and how it is likely a coping mechanism can help to bring some compassion into our experience, which then helps us to not take things so personally even when it is directed at us. Ultimately their behaviour is not about us. It's about them.
Finally (and this is the part sometimes people find hard to hear, but if you can keep an open mind it can be of real benefit to your growth), the things that trigger us in other people are often aspects of ourselves that we don't like and have denied. If we can take a really good, long, hard, open look at ourselves (without judgment, but with curiosity) we can often find places in our lives where we exhibit the same behaviours that trigger us. By bringing this to conscious awareness, we have the opportunity to begin to accept that this is indeed a quality that we too possess. When we do that, we are less triggered when we see it in other people. It also then gives us an opportunity to change our behaviour if it is something that we would like to change.
I'll give you an example. A while back, I was very triggered by someone who was slacking and putting in the bare minimum effort. It seemed to me like they were not only getting away with it, but in one case being rewarded because they cut corners and finished first. I felt really angry. I resented the person. Having a fine tuned curious observer, I recognized that this response was extreme, out of character for me, and that all the tools I had been using to date weren't clearing this negative energy I was experiencing. I took some time to get really honest with myself and review my behaviour over the past while. Were there any areas where I was slacking, cutting corners, and putting in a bare minimum effort? As it turned out there were. I was going through the motions of my daily meditation practice but I wasn't really present. I was doing a half-ass job of my practice and I wasn't happy about it. And I had been getting away with it (at least on the surface). Once I was able to bring this awareness to my consciousness, instantly my feelings toward the other person started to dissolve. I was able to let go of their choices, recognize it wasn't personal, but also give them back responsibility for their choices, knowing that it would likely catch up with them at some point and it wasn't my job to police them or hold them accountable. Additionally, I was able to make a conscious choice to be more present and to put in more effort with my meditations. I started feeling better right away, and something that I had been deeply grappling with for days vanished. It hasn't come back since. This is the value of having an open honest look at ourselves, not to judge but to acknowledge and bring to consciousness what is wanting/needing to be acknowledged within us. The more we do this, the less triggered we are by others and their behaviours, and the more self-accepting and whole we become.
Q: Any suggestions for how to deal with intrusive images that are very dark that appear when I close my eyes? It makes it challenging when trying to fall asleep or meditating as the only thing that helps is to stop, open my eyes, and distract myself. I would like to find a way to push through so I can continue falling asleep or meditating for example.
A: I highly recommend using EFT to help with this. For those who are unfamiliar, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It is also knows as psychological acupuncture, meridian therapy or Tapping. This process uses light tapping along specific meridian points to release what is stuck in the brain and nervous system and to restore health & wellbeing. EFT was developed out of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) in the early 1990's by Gary Craig. It is very simple to learn and use, and is often very effective. There are many YouTube videos on it, online courses, and great books, including The Book of Tapping by Sophie Merle (available on Amazon).
Until next time!
If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com